Traveling? Here’s How to Avoid Bed Bugs
Although the chances of you picking up bed bugs while traveling are minimal, it always pays to be safe rather than sorry. Bed bug infestations are becoming more and more common, so with some simple precautions, you can ensure you don’t bring any of these critters home!
Bed bugs easily attach to clothing and luggage, particularly in places where people sleep. The good news is that they tend not to like travel vessels, including planes, trains, and cars, so you’re generally safe there. But what can you do to avoid bed bugs while you travel, both their bite as well as their unwelcome hitchhiking home with you and your family?
Follow BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids’ simple tips for keeping your trip fun, safe, and bed-bug free!
What to Pack:
There are a few things you can do to ensure bed bugs don’t make it home with you! They include:
- Swapping duffel bags and fabric-based luggage for hard-cased luggage, as bed bugs likely won’t put forth the effort needed to try and figure out how to attach themselves to your hard-cased luggage.
- Get out the plastic bags! Re-sealable plastic bags are perfect for clothing and available in many sizes. You can keep your clothes in plastic bags to keep them safe from bed bugs. Bring extra to put your purchases in while on your trip.
- Bringing a bright, portable flashlight along is a good idea. The flashlight will enable you to properly inspect your room for bed bugs.
- Leave the insect sprays and pesticides behind. They don’t work on bed bugs, and they’re not safe for you to be breathing.
Hotels, Hostels, and Other Accommodations:
Depending on where you’re staying while you’re traveling, BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids recommends that you talk with your hosts or hotel staff about bed bugs.
- Ask about policies used in the place to both prevent and treat bed bugs.
- Ask if the rooms are regularly inspected and if the hotel or your hosts have arrangements with a pest control company that can handle the problem if needed.
- A good hotel will have a relationship with a professional pest control business regardless of whether or not any bed bug issues have been experienced.
Your Room—What to Look For:
This is where you’ll have to do a bit of work, just to be sure you’re safe. Many of these practices are things you may already do when making yourself at home in your room while traveling.
- Do you know what bed bugs look like? Find out before you go. They have several life stages including their eggs, baby bed bugs, and adult bed bugs. There are also telltale signs of bed bugs that are generally easily recognizable, including blood stains in the room (yikes!), skins from shedding, and their excrement.
- Don’t put your luggage on the floor. A stable, elevated surface is best. Don’t even put it on the furniture. If you can’t find a good place, a bathtub will do—provided it’s dry! You may also choose to leave your luggage in your car or downstairs with the staff until you’ve had a chance to inspect the room.
- Look at the bed: check the sheets, sides of the bed, mattress, headboard, and corners for the signs of bed bugs discussed above.
- Check the pillows and any upholstered furniture for signs of bed bugs.
- Check the drawers of the nightstands for any signs of bed bugs.
- You may consider keeping all your clothes sealed in your luggage if you don’t plan on staying long.
- If you see any signs of bed bugs, immediately tell your hosts or hotel manager and ask for another room.
Returning from Your Trip:
You’ve made it home safely! However, the danger for bed bugs isn’t over yet. BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids recommends the following tips to ensure you’re safe from bed bugs upon returning home from your trip:
- Don’t unpack in the bedroom—go into a well-lit bathroom and check your clothes and luggage to see if any bed bugs have decided to catch a ride home with you. You can also use your bathtub or shower to shake your clothing out.
- Inspect your luggage, including crevices. You may choose to vacuum out your luggage with an attachment that gets into all those hard-to-reach places. Afterwards, be sure to empty the vacuum and dispose of the bag outside!
- Wash all of your clothing. If you think bed bugs may be present, be sure to use hot water and dry on high heat for a minimum of twenty minutes. Remember, heat kills bed bugs. Consider getting your luggage dry cleaned to be sure, especially if you’ve used fabric luggage that can’t be washed or dried.
Avoiding bed bugs is well worth the effort you take to prevent these little critters from ruining your trip. At BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids, we know how frustrating bed bugs can be. Follow these tips during your travels to ensure all your personal belongings (as well as you and your family) are safe from bed bugs!